June 07, 2012

Businesses Clueless About Social Media

Over the years, some of the dumbest articles I've ever read about advertising and marketing have been published by Fast Company (examples: here, here, and here.)  But this week I read a good one. It's called "Facebook Is About People, Not Brands--So What Is Your Company Doing?"

The article makes several important points about the cluelessness of businesses regarding social media:
  • According to a study by IBM, over 60% of businesses think consumers follow them on social media because they want to be "part of a community." In fact, this is the least important reason to follow a business. What's the most important? Like we've said here about a zillion times, getting a discount. 
  • Among the top 10 reasons consumers say they use social media, interacting with brands is -- wait for it -- number 10.
  • According to IBM “Businesses hoping to foster closer customer connections through social media conversations may be mistakenly projecting their own desires for intimacy onto customers’ motivations for interacting."
About 18 months ago, Adweek published an article of mine called The Digital Dream World. It started like this:
"Welcome to a new world... It's a world in which consumers want to have relationships with brands and conversations with marketers. It's a world that is causing a revolution in advertising and marketing. Unfortunately, it's a world that exists largely in our dreams."
The Fast Company article draws the same conclusion and uses an example that is very near and dear to my heart...
"The IBM study should dash the misguided way of thinking... like that of Pepsi Refresh, where product-focused marketing is replaced by gauzy notions of relationships, and should cause marketers to realize the large numbers of people they see on Facebook and Twitter should not be mistaken for an audience clamoring to connect with brands."
Will the last bozo still hustling "the conversation" please turn out the lights.


Howie at Sky Pulse Media said...

I have blogged about this and tweeted about this a lot Bob. Social Media is a Revolution in Interpersonal Communication Technologies. The words marketing and brands are not included in that statement.

Also Facebook doe not want Brand pages to work (and they don't). They make money selling Facebook ads (which also don't work). I view facebook as a giant banner ad network just like Yahoo except with crappier looking banner ads.

Chris Seiger said...

And your own social media are working properly again. And looking mighty sharp. Glad the comments are in order once more.

Mark said...

 Love that last sentence , Howie.

I follow  a couple of brands that are directly involved in my favorite hobbies to get updates on products and news.   Beyond that, it is to get tour updates from my favorite bands.   ICGAF about everything else.

Paul Benjou said...

Put simply, Social "Media" is one more direct marketing channel (FSIs/mail/e-mail) to get discounts and/or coupons into the hands of prospects.

rubin said...

Interesting that there are zero comments on Fastco for that article. Not comfortable reading it seems.

Greglobel said...

I definitely believe most people connect with businesses on social media to gain access to discounts and special promotions.  I also believe a few like to be ahead of the trends and find out updates first.

Unknown said...

I agree that it is not about being a “part of a community” that makes me “Like” or “Follow” a certain brand’s Facebook or Twitter account. I am guilty of “liking” or “following” a business’ page to get discounts because it is an easy way to get benefits from the brand I am interested in. Although I think it would benefit them too because it increases the number of their loyal customers and awareness of the brand.

Lesli Dyson